Economic Development


As part of the St. Louis Metropolitan Area, the Riverbend Region is a major national and global transportation center located within 500 miles of 33% of our nation’s population and businesses.

The Riverbend area is in IDOT’s Region 5, District 8. See what Riverbend area projects are in IDOT’s multi-year (FY2019-2024) transportation program summary by clicking here.


  • The Riverbend region is well connected to major markets across the United States and is the crossroads of these interstate highways: I-44, I-55, I-64, I-70; and interstate linkages: I-255, I-170 and I-270.
  • This network of quality highways and interstates provides over-the-road drivers with the ability to reach the following cities in less than 8 hours: Chicago, Cincinnati, Des Moines, Louisville, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Memphis, Milwaukee, Nashville, Oklahoma City, Omaha, Wichita
  • Illinois 255 connects Interstate 270 to U.S. 67 in Godfrey. With the completion of improvements on U.S. 67 to a four-lane highway, the Riverbend will become the stepping-off point for business expansion into western Illinois from St. Louis. U.S. 67 upgrades will provide access to I-72, I-74, and I-280, the Quad Cities, IA-IL, and St. Paul, MN
  • Enhancing access to the region from these interstate highways are state highways 3, 111, 140, and 143. Crossing the Mississippi River at Alton, the Clark Bridge carries U.S. Highway 67 into St. Louis and St. Louis Lambert International Airport.
  • The St. Louis Metropolitan area is the second largest trucking center in the country with more than 300 common carriers and 50 contract carriers, and has the lowest aggregate miles between major points of destination on the continental United States.


  • St. Louis Regional Airport, located in the Riverbend Region, is a general aviation reliever airport averaging over 80,000 operations a year. The primary runway (11/29) is 8100 feet long by 150 feet wide. The load limits of runway 11/29 are 200,000 pounds dual tandem, 140,000 pounds dual, and 80,000 pounds single. The cross-wind runway (17/35) is 6500 feet long by 100 feet wide. The load limits of runway 17/35 are 47,000 pounds dual, and 35,000 pounds single. Approaches to St. Louis Regional Airport include the ILS, NDB, and DME to Runway 29, the LOC/BC to runway 11, and the NDB to Runway 17. Twenty-four hour ATIS is available. United Parcel Service (UPS) operates a facility from this local airport.
  • MidAmerica St. Louis Airport is located beside the United States’ Scott Air Force Base in Mascoutah, Illinois. This facility handles St. Louis Lambert’s freight business, is an overflow conduit for Lambert International and offers commercial flights through Allegiant Airlines.
  • Less than twenty minutes from the Riverbend is St. Louis Lambert International Airport, a national hub serving nine airlines.


  • The St. Louis region is the third largest rail hub linking six Class I, local and short line railroads. (Union Pacific, BNSF, Norfolk Southern, Kansas City Southern, CSX, Canadian National)
    St. Louis Freightway –


  • Mel Price Locks and Dam #26 (Alton) and Locks and Dam #27 (Granite City) are in the St. Louis District.
  • The region is served by the Wood River and Chouteau, Nameoki and Venice Drainage Districts. These districts maintain a system of ditches and canals for interior drainage and operate pumping stations on the canal.
  • The entire region is protected against flooding from the Mississippi River by an extensive network of levees built to the industrial standards of the United States Army Corps of Engineers. These levees are designated to contain a discharge on the Mississippi River in excess of 1,300,000 cubic feet per second of flood water, or the equivalent to the flow of which occurred on June 28, 1844 – the second highest flow on record and equal to a 200-year flood. In addition, the Great Flood of 1993, which was our most severe flood, never compromised our levee system and it is estimated this flow was equivalent to a 500-year flood.
  • Domestic and foreign markets are readily accessible via the U.S. Inland Waterways System. Shipments can be barged up the Illinois River to Chicago and then via the St. Lawrence Seaway to the industrial centers of Canada or northern Europe. Shipments can be barged down the Mississippi River to New Orleans, and from there to the markets of Mexico, Asia, Europe, South America, Central America, and Africa. Shipments can also be barged up the Missouri River for delivery to the West and to the Ohio River for delivery to the East.
  • One of the world’s first and continuing great avenues of commerce serving the Riverbend is the Mississippi River. In addition, the Missouri River and the Illinois River’s confluence helps form the “bend” to the Mississippi River and each is effective conduits for bulk transportation.


  • A public transportation system not rivaled by many other metropolitan areas exists in the Riverbend and St. Louis. In the Riverbend, Madison County Transit ( is the main bus service. Metro operates a multi-modal system which includes MetroBus and MetroLink light rail. Metro systems provide access between Illinois and Missouri.
  • Amtrak stations in Alton, IL and St. Louis, MO providing national rail service.


  • Brussels Ferry – Free ferry transportation across the Illinois River at IL Rte. 100 (about one mile north of Grafton) – (618) 786-3636
  • Golden Eagle Ferry – Ferry across the Mississippi River for access from Missouri to Calhoun County, Illinois – (618) 535-5759 |
  • Grafton Ferry – Open daily May 1 – Oct. 31 and carries passengers from St. Charles, Mo., to Grafton – (800) 258-6645
  • Kampsville Ferry- Free ferry transportation across the Illinois River at IL Rte. 100 & 96 – (618) 653-4518

Transportation Links

St. Louis Regional Freightway – an all-purpose authority for freight opportunities within the St. Louis region